Five continents. Five world cities: Hanoi (Asia), Havana (America), Marseille (Europe), Sydney (Australia), and Kinshasa (Africa).
Families from these five cities received copies of Luke's Gospel, the Good News of God's mercy for the human Family, from Pope Francis during the Mass that concluded the VIII World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
During the press conference on Friday the 25th, at the conclusion of the Congress, Archbishop Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, announced the initiative in the presence of the six families who brought color into the Media Center, which served as the press office throughout the world meeting.
Each of these five cities received 150,000 copies of the Gospel to be distributed to families, especially to those living on their outskirts; because the Word is a presence in the home that nourishes and consoles; because the family is the place where the Word is transmitted, in prayer and in the encounter of the generations; and so that it will become a living reality that enriches the family itself.
These five families were joined by a family that came to Philadelphia directly from Damascus, Syria, where the population is suffering from one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of our time.
The presence of this Syrian family is a significant testimony, in a festive context such as that of the World Meeting just concluded, so that the situation of Syrian families affected by war and destruction may not be forgotten.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia also announced that, in addition to receiving copies of the Gospel of Luke, 6,000 families in Damascus will be supported via a fundraising campaign begun last Friday, in accord with the Apostolic Nunciature in Syria and with the invaluable collaboration the CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association), to which all can donate.
Approximately 350 US dollars per family, for a total of about $ 2 million, are necessary in order for these families to have the means to keep warm during the coming winter, which is particularly harsh in that region.
As the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family confirmed when he announced the initiative: "The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia is the starting point of a dream of a more familial world: 5 families from 5 continents will take the Gospel into the peripheries of the world. They are accompanied by a family from Damascus that will return to its war-ravaged homeland with the Gospel that nourishes the heart and with help from families around the world to warm the coming winter."